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SurkanPodcasts

Michael Surkan

Michael Surkan podcasts about job searching, Entrepreneurs, and the economy (under his alter-ego, The Optimistic Bear).



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Jan 21, 2015 Michael Surkan
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In this episode Steve Keen shares his knowledge of economics to not only debunk the reverence paid to economists by policy makers but to explain that the titans of the economic theory are misunderstood. Keynes wasn’t the advocate for stimulus spending as many assume and Karl Marx actually had a lot of great insights that are conveniently swept under the carpet. Steve goes on to provide a tutorial on the life and ideas of his hero Hyman Minsky, explaining how this was one of the few who...
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Jan 21, 2015 Michael Surkan
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Elliott, Jeremy and the Optimistic bear wonder if the claims to have been blind-sided by the financial crisis by pillars of the financial community, like Greenspan and ex Washington Mutual executives, can be taken at face value. Frequent caller Ray Pepper updates us on the growing number of defaulting homeowners who stay in their homes when the lenders are unable to produce the note.
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Jan 21, 2015 Michael Surkan
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In this episode Doug Eberhardt explains how gold should be a part of every portfolio, providing safety in both inflation and deflation. Additionally, Doug compares the deflationary experience in Japan to what is happening in the US. Our panelists also discuss how there is no economic theory that adequately explains why nations with increasing money supplies (like Japan) can experience deflation.
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Jan 21, 2015 Michael Surkan
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The Optimistic Bear discusses the week's economic and financial news with his guests. Is deflation or inflation up ahead? Has the economy turned the corner? What is going to happen to real-estate, commodities, stocks, or gold prices? Tune in to hear a deeper understanding of why things happen in the economy, and what it really means to you or your business.
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Jan 21, 2015 Michael Surkan
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The Optimistic Bear discusses the week's economic and financial news with his guests. Is deflation or inflation up ahead? Has the economy turned the corner? What is going to happen to real-estate, commodities, stocks, or gold prices? Tune in to hear a deeper understanding of why things happen in the economy, and what it really means to you or your business.
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Jan 21, 2015 Michael Surkan
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The Optimistic Bear discusses the week's economic and financial news with his guests. Is deflation or inflation up ahead? Has the economy turned the corner? What is going to happen to real-estate, commodities, stocks, or gold prices? Tune in to hear a deeper understanding of why things happen in the economy, and what it really means to you or your business.
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Jan 21, 2015 Michael Surkan
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In this episode we discuss the attributes of bear market politicians and identify the MOST successful bear market leaders of all times. It takes a different message and personality type to thrive in politics during challenging economic times.
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Jan 21, 2015 Michael Surkan
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In this episode Robert Gignac offers advice on financial planning. Be careful to choose financial advisors who don’t have an vested interest in selling particular products. It is also important to find advice from people who really explain the various products and options without assuming that consumers understand the different between annuities, dividends or tax-free retirement funds. Robert explores how your goals and state of mind are the key to real happiness. Just having a lot of cash...
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In this episode we discuss whether market perceptions of weakness in Ireland (or other nations) can force defaults. We also discuss how Quantitative Easing by the Federal Reserve is already backfiring with rising interest rates and a falling dollar. The show closes with a chat about the re-emergence of debtors prison in the United States.
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In this episode Elliott and Jeremy ponder if a floating Chinese currency would really behave as experts expect. We also talk about how misleading the balance of trade statistics really are.
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Jan 21, 2015 Michael Surkan
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In this episode special guest Jim Mosquera explains how the financial crisis has barely even begun and that massive deflation lies ahead. By explaining how money and credit work Jim outlines what caused the financial crisis and why policy makers are powerless to prevent even greater collapses in asset values. When looking for a bottom in stocks start thinking about returning to 1982.
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In this episode we discuss stimulus, and whether government spending can jump-start moribund economies. We also explore whether the fact that significant technological advances have resulted from government funding demonstrate a role for the state in economic development.
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Jan 21, 2015 Michael Surkan
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This week our regular pundit Jeremy discusses the Q ratio and Robert Shiller's bearish economic prognosis. We also chat with Washington state real-estate investor Ray Pepper about his views on the still treacherous property markets, and shares some ideas on how investors can still make a buck.
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Jan 21, 2015 Michael Surkan
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The Optimistic Bear discusses the week's economic and financial news with his guests. Is deflation or inflation up ahead? Has the economy turned the corner? What is going to happen to real-estate, commodities, stocks, or gold prices? Tune in to hear a deeper understanding of why things happen in the economy, and what it really means to you or your business.
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Jan 21, 2015 Michael Surkan
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The Optimistic Bear discusses the week's economic and financial news with his guests. Is deflation or inflation up ahead? Has the economy turned the corner? What is going to happen to real-estate, commodities, stocks, or gold prices? Tune in to hear a deeper understanding of why things happen in the economy, and what it really means to you or your business.
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Jan 21, 2015 Michael Surkan
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The Optimistic Bear discusses the week's economic and financial news with his guests. Is deflation or inflation up ahead? Has the economy turned the corner? What is going to happen to real-estate, commodities, stocks, or gold prices? Tune in to hear a deeper understanding of why things happen in the economy, and what it really means to you or your business.
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Jan 21, 2015 Michael Surkan
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The Optimistic Bear and Elliott examine both the moral, and legal, cases against Goldman Sachs. A perusal through Goldman’s past shows that they routinely wind up with egg on their face every time the economy goes south. The Optimistic Bear tells about how this is all reminiscent of the trouble Drexel Burnham Lambert and Michael Milken wound up in when the junk bond market tanked in the early ‘90s.
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In this episode we discuss how changing consumer preferences, and product substitution play a key role in the deflationary process. Already we see people downsizing their expectations, taking in boarders to their homes, and switching to lower priced substitutes for all kinds of things. It’s starting to look at lot like the Kit Kitredge movie, set in the 1930s. We also talk about how surprising it is to see how long the process of de-leveraging and mal-investment purge is taking.
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In this episode we discuss what role governments play in bubbles and whether diversified investment portfolios make sense when all asset classes rise and fall at the same time. We also investigate what growing disparities between the wealth of the rich and middle classes say about the economy.
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Jan 21, 2015 Michael Surkan
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The Optimistic Bear discusses the week's economic and financial news with his guests. Is deflation or inflation up ahead? Has the economy turned the corner? What is going to happen to real-estate, commodities, stocks, or gold prices? Tune in to hear a deeper understanding of why things happen in the economy, and what it really means to you or your business.
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Jan 21, 2015 Michael Surkan
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The Optimistic Bear discusses the week's economic and financial news with his guests. Is deflation or inflation up ahead? Has the economy turned the corner? What is going to happen to real-estate, commodities, stocks, or gold prices? Tune in to hear a deeper understanding of why things happen in the economy, and what it really means to you or your business.
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Jan 21, 2015 Michael Surkan
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The Optimistic Bear discusses the week's economic and financial news with his guests. Is deflation or inflation up ahead? Has the economy turned the corner? What is going to happen to real-estate, commodities, stocks, or gold prices? Tune in to hear a deeper understanding of why things happen in the economy, and what it really means to you or your business.
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Jan 21, 2015 Michael Surkan
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In this episode we talk about the inevitable failure of any trading system and explore the definition of the "money supply". Panelists give their take on why the money supply is shrinking despite massive government printing of cash.
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In this episode regular contributor Jeremy and the Optimistic Bear demystify what inflation and deflation really are, and reluctantly come to the conclusion that Canada's health care system may actually be better than America's.
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Jan 21, 2015 Michael Surkan
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Stories of abuses in the American medical system are egregious, and shockingly easy to find. However, such atrocities of over-billing and fraud are actually a symptom of a deeper problem: the lack of a free market with responsible customers.
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Jan 21, 2015 Michael Surkan
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The Optimistic Bear discusses the week's economic and financial news with his guests. Is deflation or inflation up ahead? Has the economy turned the corner? What is going to happen to real-estate, commodities, stocks, or gold prices? Tune in to hear a deeper understanding of why things happen in the economy, and what it really means to you or your business.
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In this episode regular contributor Elliott and the Optimistic Bear celebrate the Euro's 10th anniversary and discuss whether the markets are actually secretly manipulated, and controlled, by mysterious people in smoke filled rooms.
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Jan 21, 2015 Michael Surkan
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In this episode the Optimistic Bear rants about how the public sector employees are now paid MORE than private sector counterparts and that there is no way to save the unfunded civil service pensions.
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The Irish bailout by European nations and the IMF is following the same pattern we’ve seen throughout the entire financial crisis. In this episode we discuss the fact that whether it is consumer mortgages or sovereign debt issues, the response has been the same over the last few years – do anything and everything to avoid making lenders take a loss. Banks will lower monthly mortgage payments for struggling borrowers for a year but actually tack the difference with what is actually owed to...
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In this episode we discuss the possible end-game of the Euro, the future of interest rates, and examine how eerily the Shanghai stock exchange has been a leading indicator for the US markets in the last few years.
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With election results coming in from across America today, we discuss what impact change in congressional leadership will have on the economy. We also ponder whether the Republicans will regret their victory if the Great Recession has a double dip. Politicians may have relatively little impact on the economy, one way or the other, but they get the blame when things go wrong as well as acclaim when there is prosperity.
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Jan 21, 2015 Michael Surkan
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In this episode a guest from California asks if renters are just throwing money away. We discuss how bullish sentiment is at extremes by some measures, even though the recent stock rally is anemic and within the same trading range we’ve seen all year. Our conversation also turns to how the very fact the Federal Reserve is considering a SECOND round of quantitative easing demonstrates that it’s power over the economy is limited (i.e. otherwise a second attempt wouldn’t be necessary).
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In this episode housing blogger Patrick Killelea explains why real-estate prices still have a long ways to fall in the tonier communities. Prices fell faster in poor areas where people live paycheque to paycheque. The more well heeled home-owner has assets to burn through, and it takes them longer to get desperate enough to take losses. Patrick also talks about how the primary problem is the masses of bad debt, out of relation to incomes, which still hasn’t been written down throughout the...
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In this episode we talk about the growing popularity for currency devaluations around the world. Japan is just the most recent nation to get on the bandwagon with threats to intervene in currency markets to keep the yen down. Ironically, we discuss how it is strong currencies which often lead to the best outcomes.
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In this week’s episode we discuss how investing can be difficult even with the benefit of a time machine and perfect hindsight. We also discuss the jitters in the European debt markets, Irish political instability and the recent volatility in municipal bonds. As if any more proof were needed, our commentators point out that the recent run on deposits with Allied Irish Banks despite the fact it had been given a clean bill of health by regulators earlier this year underscores the fact that...
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Jan 21, 2015 Michael Surkan
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In this episode we talk about how government subsidies have created a bubble in education that is eerily similar to what happened with housing. Prices are rising and unscrupulous lenders are pushing government backed loans for dubious educations. We also ask whether the financial statements of CitiGroup can be trusted.
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Jan 21, 2015 Michael Surkan
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The Optimistic Bear discusses the week's economic and financial news with his guests. Is deflation or inflation up ahead? Has the economy turned the corner? What is going to happen to real-estate, commodities, stocks, or gold prices? Tune in to hear a deeper understanding of why things happen in the economy, and what it really means to you or your business.
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Jan 21, 2015 Michael Surkan
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In this episode we discuss the idea that societies, and economies, are governed by both short and very long cycles of social mood and sentiment. If this theory of cycles (like those proposed by Kondratieff) are correct, then there is very little policy makers can do one way or the other to change economic outcomes. The grandiose visions laid out by the US President’s state of the union address are irrelevant to the economic and psychological prosperity of the nation. The ideas offered by the...
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Jan 21, 2015 Michael Surkan
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In this episode we discuss how Iceland’s decision to simply allow its banks to go bust may have been the wiser choice. Iceland’s economy is now growing again and the economy is re-setting itself. By contrast, nations like Ireland and Greece are taking on even MORE debt (in the form of bail-outs) to prop up their economies yet there is no end in sight to their economic demise. Sometimes it is better to just let the dead wood die and get started with a clean slate. We also discuss how...
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Jan 21, 2015 Michael Surkan
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In this episode Patrick Killelea joins us to do some crystal ball gazing for 2011. Tune in to hear predictions for rising interest rates, a declining Euro, and crashing stock prices in Asia and America. Patrick predicts that affluent areas will see significant price erosion for 2011 and that the National Association of Realtors will declare that it is a great time to buy. The Optimistic Bear posits that America is embarking on a lengthy odyssey with deflation, much the same as Japan has...
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In this episode we discuss how there is no such thing as a “safe” investment, and that people have to pick which economic scenario they believe in since no asset will perform well in all circumstances. We also talk about the crisis with mortgage processing, with shoddy paperwork and robo-signing. It’s hard to feel sorry for either the lenders or their delinquent borrowers. It’s just unfortunate that we will all pay the price of an exacerbated real-estate downturn as the mess slowly gets...
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Jan 21, 2015 Michael Surkan
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In this show, the Optimistic Bear (and friends) discusses the role ratings agencies play in finance, and whether their judgments hold any value for investors.
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Jan 21, 2015 Michael Surkan
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The Optimistic Bear discusses the week's economic and financial news with his guests. Is deflation or inflation up ahead? Has the economy turned the corner? What is going to happen to real-estate, commodities, stocks, or gold prices? Tune in to hear a deeper understanding of why things happen in the economy, and what it really means to you or your business.
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Jan 21, 2015 Michael Surkan
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In this episode regular contributors Jeremy, Kevan, and Elliott chat with the Optimistic Bear about the futility of proposed financial industry reform. Will legislating large financial institutions out of existence really save us from future economic calamity? Does size really matter? We also talk about whether timing matters with value investing, and whether resource rich nations are really better off.
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Jan 21, 2015 Michael Surkan
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In this episode we discuss the strange way stocks behave on options expiry weeks and whether real action in the market will have to wait till the fall and the end of the summer doldrums. For good measure, we also talk about how recent finance reform legislation does nothing to prevent future financial panics.
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Jan 21, 2015 Michael Surkan
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In this episode, the Optimistic Bear and guests discus sovereign debt. With all the problems in Greece, and Europe, prudent investors are wondering if purchasing bonds of nation states makes sense anymore. Are US T-bills, or German bunds safe?
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The Optimistic Bear, and guests, ask if this week's market rally was caused by the pan-European bail-out announced over the week-end, and whether the markets have turned the corner. The frequent "coincidence" of market news and stock moves is revealed.
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In this episode we discuss which, if any, techniques are useful for predicting market directions. We talk about everything from cosmology and technical analysis to tea leaves. We also talk about growing problems with underfunded private and public pension plans.
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Jan 21, 2015 Michael Surkan
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The Optimistic Bear discusses the week's economic and financial news with his guests. Is deflation or inflation up ahead? Has the economy turned the corner? What is going to happen to real-estate, commodities, stocks, or gold prices? Tune in to hear a deeper understanding of why things happen in the economy, and what it really means to you or your business.
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In this episode veteran Wall Street Banker Bruce Krasting joins us to talk about how the recent congressional legislation to extend unemployment benefits by borrowing even more money is the final straw. According to Bruce, unemployment insurance is small potatoes compared to the trillions in stimulus an bailouts that have been spent so far, but the insanity has to stop somewhere. Bruce also shares his view on how deflation is likely to win out in the short term, and his views on how emotion can...
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Jan 21, 2015 Michael Surkan
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In this episode a caller from North Carolina tells us that the economy hasn't hit bottom there, and that from his perspective as a bank loan officer (with national exposure) a double-dip recession is already baked into the cards. We also delve into the profits and pitfalls of tax lien investing.
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In this episode we suggest some more crazy ideas the Federal Reserve can consider to stimulate the economy. Since central bankers seem so willing to consider absurd policy measures these days we thought we’d help by sharing some doozies. We also talk about what impacts a deeper recession might have on the tech industry, hos spending would change and how which companies would win or lose.
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In this episode we talk about unions, and what responsibility they bear for pushing governments into insolvency. There is also in-depth discussion on market technical indicators, and what they portend for trends in the near term.
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In this episode of the Optimistic Bear show, marking our first anniversary, we discuss the recent collapse of the Bitcoin bubble, the “prosperity certificates” of Canada’s William Aberhart and the history of failed currencies. We also delve into the psychology of bubble investing, and propose some theories as to why investors seem so willing to get burnt with the same bad investments again and again. Lastly, we explore Harry Brown’s 16 golden rules of financial safety.
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Jan 21, 2015 Michael Surkan
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The Optimistic Bear discusses the week's economic and financial news with his guests. Is deflation or inflation up ahead? Has the economy turned the corner? What is going to happen to real-estate, commodities, stocks, or gold prices? Tune in to hear a deeper understanding of why things happen in the economy, and what it really means to you or your business.
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Jan 21, 2015 Michael Surkan
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In this episode we discuss how markets are following an eerily similar path to 1987. In addition, we talk about whether the rally in treasuries is going to crack and the growth in the barter economy.
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Jan 21, 2015 Michael Surkan
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The Optimistic Bear discusses the week's economic and financial news with his guests. Is deflation or inflation up ahead? Has the economy turned the corner? What is going to happen to real-estate, commodities, stocks, or gold prices? Tune in to hear a deeper understanding of why things happen in the economy, and what it really means to you or your business.
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Jan 21, 2015 Michael Surkan
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In this episode Steve tells how his strategy of trading trends allows him to make money in both bull and bear markets. The trick is to have the discipline to stay with a system. Stop listening to the pundits, just follow the trend and adhere to a system.
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In this episode Doug Eberhardt joins us to talk about the credit bubble of the last decade, and how those who made risky loans (which clearly couldn't be paid back) may not have been so dumb after all. In many cases there were implicit guarantees on bad loans. Why not invest in Greek bonds if you know that Germany would never allow a default for fear of wrecking the Euro? Why not invest in Fannie Mae bonds if you know the Federal Government would never allow such a critical part of the...
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Jan 21, 2015 Michael Surkan
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In this episode we ponder whether perception alone drives economic trends. Special guest, fund manager Chaster Johnson, challenges the Optimistic Bear's view that the financial system bail-outs not only worked but have benefited more than the fat-cat executives at banks.
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Jan 21, 2015 Michael Surkan
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In this episode special guest Matt Stiles fills us in on the asset bubble and bullish fever that is raging in Canada. We also talk how Isaac Asimov's fictional idea of scientifically controlling human behaviour is symptomatic of broader desires to manage the economy.
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Jan 21, 2015 Michael Surkan
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The Optimistic Bear discusses the week's economic and financial news with his guests. Is deflation or inflation up ahead? Has the economy turned the corner? What is going to happen to real-estate, commodities, stocks, or gold prices? Tune in to hear a deeper understanding of why things happen in the economy, and what it really means to you or your business.
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Jan 21, 2015 Michael Surkan
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The Optimistic Bear discusses the week's economic and financial news with his guests. Is deflation or inflation up ahead? Has the economy turned the corner? What is going to happen to real-estate, commodities, stocks, or gold prices? Tune in to hear a deeper understanding of why things happen in the economy, and what it really means to you or your business.
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Jan 21, 2015 Michael Surkan
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In this episode we discuss how even the best investment strategies, founded on the most exhaustive historical data sets, can still go horribly wrong. No trend lasts forever. Even theoretically reliable seasonal cycles can throw investors for a loop.